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olympic track notebook

Gabby Thomas anchors US team to silver medal in 4x100 relay

Jenna Prandini passes the baton to Gabby Thomas during the women's 4 x 100m relay at Olympic Stadium.Patrick Smith/Getty

Massachusetts native and Harvard grad Gabby Thomas ran the anchor leg for the US women en route to a silver medal in the 4x100m relay.

Javianne Oliver, Teahna Daniels, and Jenna Prandini ran the first three legs.

It’s Thomas’s second medal of the Tokyo Games. She won bronze individually in the 200 meters.

But at these Olympics, a Jamaican women’s team with the world’s three fastest sprinters was the surest thing going.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the double-sprint champion in Tokyo, ran the second leg after an awkward, but legal, exchange with Briana Williams. She passed the baton to Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, the 100 silver medalist. Fraser-Pryce connected with Shericka Jackson, the 100 bronze medalist, and Jackson took the Jamaican women home in a national-record of 41.02 seconds. It was the night’s least-surprising performance — but still impressive.


“We got the national record, Elaine got her third gold medal, we’re all going home with a gold medal, so we’re just very grateful for the effort,” Fraser-Pryce said.

The United States won silver in 41.45 while the US men weren’t in the stadium the day after a bad exchange doomed them to a sixth-place finish in their qualifying heat.

In the men’s race, Italy now owns the gold medal in the men’s 4x100-meter relay to go with the shocking 100-meter gold that Marcell Jacobs won.

The Italian relay team made Jacobs a double Olympic champion, as the country pulled off a stunner to equal Jacobs’s solo triumph five nights earlier. Jacobs ran the second leg of Italy’s 37.5-second trip around the track, and Filippo Tortu outraced Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake to the line.

Tortu, who was slightly behind at the changeover, dipped first for a .01-second victory.

“We are four Ferraris,” Tortu said.

Canada, featuring 200-meter champion Andre De Grasse, took bronze in 37.70. A Jamaican Olympic squad without Usain Bolt came in fifth to end a run of three straight relay wins for the island nation. (One was stripped because of a doping case.)


Faith Kipyegon wins 1,500; Elle Purrier St. Pierre is 11th

Faith Kipyegon of Kenya defended her Olympic title in the women’s 1,500 meters.

Kipyegon, 27, ran the race in an Olympic-record time of 3:53.11 after sprinting past Sifan Hassan on the final lap. Laura Muir of Britain finished second for her first medal at a major international outdoor championship, and Hassan finished with the bronze — no small consolation for an athlete who already won the 5,000 meters and has raced through hot, grinding heats since the start of the track and field competition. She will vie for another medal Saturday in the women’s 10,000 meters.

Elle Purrier St. Pierre, the Vermonter who won at the US trials in June, placed 11th.

Paul Chelimo dives for bronze

American Paul Chelimo was in lockstep with Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli with just a few meters to go in the 5,000-meter final, a bronze medal there for the runner who crossed the line first. That’s when Chelimo knew he would do whatever was necessary to win his second medal in as many Olympics, so as both men approached the line, Chilemo lunged and let gravity take care of the rest.

Chelimo left his feet, propelling himself across the line in a dive that left him on his stomach. He rested his chin on the red track. When he looked up, he realized what had just transpired - his time was just milliseconds ahead of Kimeli, earning bronze in a race that provided one of the most thrilling finishes of these Olympics.


“I’m a veteran. Don’t count the veteran out,” said Chelimo, who clocked a time of 12:59.05, just .12 seconds better than Kimeli. “I give 100 percent . . . this is what I had in my legs. I pushed all the way out there.”

In the second fastest race in event history, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, the world record holder, took home gold in 12:58.12. Mohammed Ahmed of Canada earned silver in 12:58.6. Cheptegei controlled the pace for much of the night, while Ahmed surged in the final lap.